By Cindy and Walt
It was 1 AM when they arrived in Mossberg Ala. Wes made the call from his burner to the one he left with Mike.
Just as he had been directed, Mike hung up the phone without saying a word. The two men gave him fifteen minutes before going to the rear door. If all went well, they had forty five minutes of their hour left. While they waited for the fifteen minutes they allotted for Mike to do his work, they chatted.
Eddie: Let’s do it. I’m going to pretend that I am Moshe Abraham.
Wes: Who the fuck was Moshe Abraham.
Eddie: No idea. It’s a name we gave a burglar, one who we never could catch. He never left anything behind, not one single clue in his ten year career.
Wes: Then why the name?
Eddie: Why not. Actually, we figured he was a spy, and who has the best spies.
Wes: Mossad, hence Moshe?
Eddie: Exactly. (Looked at his watch) Time to go to work.
They went to the rear door, where Wes picked the pick proof lock in about a minute. Once they entered the door, they found a private staircase to the third floor. Just as the blueprint Mike had secured from the county planning board had on it. It hadn’t suggested that it was narrow and steep with only one landing. It didn’t appear to be an after thought. If it had been, Eddie expected that it would have been built on the outside of the building like a fire escape.
With all the security devices turned off, it was a simple matter to pick the upstairs lock, then put on the rubber gloves and begin their search. The modern search included booting her computer with a flash drive which was all a clone program. Wes booted the computer to the flash drive and it began copying the contents of Rose’s computer.
Meanwhile, Eddie walked around looking at her decorations and furniture. Like Eddie, Rose was a minimalist he discovered. For a millionaire he was surprised by her spartan digs. Everything was functional, but none of the furnishing screamed money. He found absolutely nothing out of place. He did find that it all seemed to be just too clean. She wasn’t planning to come back. She kept the place just in case, but she had already moved on. He had very little hope for the computer since she had done such a professional job of leaving the apartment sanitized. Rose had simply disappeared again. There was no telling when or where she would reappear. Hell, they didn’t even know who she would be when she did reappear. Presumably she had cash, as well as access to accounts they knew nothing about.
Wes took another glance into the room quickly to make sure they had not left anything which might later identify them. Eddie and Wes left the apartment with ten minutes to spare. They had walked almost a quarter of a mile to her apartment, so they had to retrace their footsteps. They had not said a single word since they left their observation spot outside her small private park.
When they reached the car, they drove away very carefully. The apartment should seem as though no one had been inside it. They didn’t want to get a ticket at that moment which could later come back to bite them on the ass.
Wes knew that all her friends were pro’s and they might well have left their own version of the string over the door trick. If so they would know someone had been inside, but there was nothing they could do about it. He also knew that driving the speed limits was a good idea since one day they might be asked about their whereabouts on this night. When he and Eddie lied, he didn’t want any evidence to prove they were lying.
At 8:45 they sat down to breakfast at a small diner in College Hill. The food was heavy on the fat and grease but it was also very good. Eddie’s eyes were gritty from lack of sleep. He had slept some on the eight hour drive from Mossberg to College Hill, since Wes had insisted on driving. His reasoning was that he had slept some on the way down from DC.
Sunrise had revived them both, but it could only do so much. They had a plan and since they were a little sleep deprived and dopey, they knew it was best to stick to it exactly. Eddie downloaded an image Mike had provided for them. He glued it to the screen of his phone to use as wallpaper till they got to the camp.
After breakfast they returned to the motel to shower and dress for the day. There was no time for a run or even a walk, so they were out the door by ten and at the gate of Church Camp by 11 AM. There was a large warning sign on the gate.
STAY IN YOUR VEHICLE
SOUND YOUR HORN
SOMEONE WILL COME TO GREET YOU.
Eddie: Not very friendly are they?
Wes: I will bet you there is a siren on that gate. If we went to touch it there would be a high piercing sound. Most likely those metal strips are revolving tire spikes.
The strips ran from side to side on the dirt road. They were about ten inches wide and level with the road.
Wes: I would go with punji stakes on the sides of the road to discourage walking around the gate.
Eddie: Simple but effective. Especially since land mines are discourage these days.
Wes: Don’t be surprised to find non lethal mines. Probably a little sniper harassing fire as well. Take a look at the tree over there. That’s a camera with a .177 pellet barrel attached. That’s only what is visible. Odds are pretty good they could get a team up here before a force could clear the area.
Eddie: I bet they have scaled back till the congressional things clear up. They are not going to want an incident now. Let’s try to use that against them.
Wes: Take a look.
Wes was pointing down the road leading from the Camp to the gate. Coming up the road was a rusty pick up truck. The gate lifted and the truck pulled up to greet them. From the truck emerged a fat man of at least sixty. He walked toward their sedan.
Fat man: Howdy. What can I do for you? Camp don’t open till June, water is too cold to swim till then.
Eddie: Ah so. Is the Owner or Manager here? We are looking for a place to send the kids this summer.
Fat man: You two got kids?
Wes: My wife and I have a 12 year old daughter. My brother here has ten year old twins.
Fat man: Okay but the Camp Manager isn’t here. He will be coming up in May. I’m just the caretaker.
Eddie: I see well how about we come in and take a look around.
Fat man: Sorry, I got my orders, don’t let nobody in. It’s an insurance thing they tell me.
Eddie: Okay, whatever you say. By the way, is Andrew still the Camp Commandant?
Fat man: Don’t know nobody named Andrew. The Camp Manager’s is Sarah Jenkins.
Eddie: Well how about giving us her number. I’m sure if we called she would let us tour the place. We drove a long way to see it.
Fat man: Wish I could, but it’s not how it works. They get their campers from church groups so wouldn’t do you no good to tour it. Miss Sarah don’t want to be bothered.
Wes: Take a look at this. (Showing him his phone) The image is your parking lot. It was made by a Russian Satellite this morning. You see all the cars in your parking lot. The place doesn’t look deserted to me.
Fat man: I think you need to go. If you want to come in and look around get yourself a search warrant.
Eddie: (Talking into the phone) May you want to fax the local rural police a search warrant for the Camp. Yeah, we will block the entrance to the road until the police arrive. Put on the search warrant that we will be searching for weapons.
Eddie: May said it would take about thirty minutes for the local cops to get here with the warrant. Meantime we need to leave, we can go back to the road and block this driveway to be sure nobody and nothing leaves.
Fat man: You guys cops.
Eddie: Senate Researchers, we are just here to count beans for the IRS Special Committee.
Fat Man: Wait here, I’ll be right back. Call your friend ask her to hold off on the search warrant till I get back.
Eddie: (Into the phone) May, hold off on that warrant. (Turning his attention) Well Wes, do you think this will fly.
Wes: Who knows. It would be nice not to be bothered with dealing with the process of a search warrant.
The truck returned, followed by two black Cadillac SUVs.
Tall man with a limp: What’s this all about?
Eddie: You must be Andrew.
Andrew: I am. It seems you know more than I do.
Eddie: My friends call me Eddie and this is Wes. We are investigators for the Chairman of the Senate Committee investigating the so called American Foreign Legion.
Andrew: What does that have to do with me?
Eddie: You either are the new head of Swamp Dog Enterprises, or you are still the Commandant of Church Camp Inc.
Andrew: At the moment there is no Church Camp. We have shut down everything on the advice of counsel. If you want to come in to look around bring me your warrant. If conversation will do, maybe we can talk and defuse this situation.
Eddie: Let’s go the talking route first.
Andrew: I hoped we might be able to do this like gentlemen. Our attorney is on the way. She will get here tomorrow morning, if you come back then, I will give you as much as she allows. They will most likely be the same ones I will give to the Committee, if they figure out what to ask me. However, until Rita gets here I got nothing to say.
Eddie: Call me when you do.
Eddie and Wes retreated first to talk to local businessmen then for an early dinner, finally to their motel. An early bedtime was called, they both agreed. They definitely weren’t as young as they once were.
Eddie: I’m going to take a look at this flash drive before I go to bed.
Wes: I wouldn’t do that. If you plug it into your machine the wrong way, it will clone your hard drive as well.
Eddie: I don’t have anything worth reading on the computer, however you do have a point. No sense confusing Mike when he gets it back. In that case I’m going to turn in.
Wes: I’m going to power walk early in the morning, you want to go?
Eddie: You operative types start way too early for me. Unlike my life back in DC, I won’t need an hour’s prep time before work tomorrow. I do not plan to be awake before eight.
They parted for their respective rooms.
Back in DC Salina was the first to arrive for work. She drove Wes’ car into the office because it would be safer in the abandoned parking structure, than it would be in the parking lot outside her housing project. She had the coffee on before the rest of the office staff arrived for work.
Mike was first to arrive. He was bundled up to look like the Pillsbury doughboy. The first thing he did was to remove his helmet, then came his deer hunter thermal Jump suit, then he removed a sweatshirt with the name ‘Georgetown’ on it. He was left standing in jeans and another sweatshirt with Born to Ride on it.
Salina: Obviously you came to work on the scooter?
Mike: That thing is always a blast, but sometimes it’s a blast of cold air. I can only imagine what it’s like in a snow storm.
Salina: White hell comes to mind.
She was smiling her motherly smile. She was less than twice Mike’s twenty two years, but she still felt motherly sometimes. She, unlike his real mother, would like to see him become a man, not stay a geek boy forever, certainly not living in his mother’s basement till he was forty. Partly the feeling came from them both being Wes’ friends. Mostly it was her need for redemption by saving others. Of course she didn’t realize either motive.
May came in next and said good morning. She had a brief conversation with Mike. Then she poured herself a coffee.
May: (To Salina) Have you heard from our missing members?
Salina: Not yet, but it’s early. I expect them any time.
Anytime turned out to be almost lunch time. Eddie called and asked for May. He ran the warrant scam passed her. She of course had no idea what he was talking about, but went along.
An hour later Wes called to inform Salina that he and the boss were going to talk to some people, then call it an early night. At the same time he updated her on the plans for the next day.
Salina: (To the others) The interview is set, but don’t expect too much. The CC’s Lawyer is driving down.
May: You mean the infamous Rita, who has weaved her way though this case like the master manipulator she is?
Mike: More like a black widow spider’s web.
Salina: Her husband it very much alive, but she is black. I wouldn’t say that around her, if I were you. But yes, she does represent the CC, Swamp Dog, and Bart’s Tea Company.
May: I should be there for that interview. I should have insisted.
Salina: I think Wes and the Boss can handle it. By the way they said for us all to continue on with what we are doing. I’m going to keep calling unaffiliated doctors and clinics. May, I might need you to pressure some of them. You can flex some of that girl muscle you are dying to use.
They exchanged sarcastic looks. Salina was determined to be a team player and try to resurrect her life. However, it was hard with the yuppie May always around to remind her how low she had sunk.
Mike, like a good geek, buried his head in his computer. Salina used Wes’ car to go for a take out lunch at the closest Chinese Restaurant. It wasn’t on May’s Yuppie list, but the food was good and inexpensive. Since it catered to the Chinese immigrants, it was on Salina’s list and she did go out for it.
The afternoon passed till five while the men in College Hill slept and the office ran along without accomplishing much. Then the day came to an official end.
Salina spent the evening waiting for a call from Wes that never came, since he slept until well past midnight.
Mike lay awake listening to his mom moaning. For some reason she suddenly had become extremely slutty. He had no idea why. He thought she probably didn’t either.
May went out to the neighborhood bar for a glass of wine and some friendly conversation which turned out to be just noise. She spoke to a couple of men, but decided that if they weren’t Bi, they were definitely wimps at the very least. By 9 PM she had enough and walked home alone. When she arrived, there was a message on her phone from Lucille that I need to check in.
May: (into the phone) Sorry Lucille I had a personal matter to attend to. Eddie and Wes have an interview with the Commander of Church Camp tomorrow. They called me to run a game on him to try and force him to agree to it. It must have worked. They called back to say they were staying at least until tomorrow.
Lucille: Very good. You are doing an excellent job.
When she hung up Lucille poured herself another glass of wine and checked on the boys. They both asleep in the bottom of the bunk beds they had insisted upon. She had at least talked them out of the ‘Transformer beds” in favor of a classical rustic cabin type bed. One day they could be separated to make a bed for each of them to have in his own room.
She went into her own bedroom and decided that, for a while at least maybe, the second guest room, the one designated for one of the boys later, should be used by her banker husband.
Since he was determined to lead an alternative lifestyle, the least she could do was look the other way. She had decided to actually encourage him to the point where he wanted to leave her. That was in response to the prenuptial agreement.
In general, it read that she got less, if she moved out or sought the divorce. If he did, she got her full community property. She had signed the agreement because she was young and naive. He had insisted because he knew he wasn’t going to change. It was a way to coerce her into keeping up appearances. Those appearances helped him to rise in the super conservative world of international banking.